RE MAYOR Ray Nagin's remarks about Philadelphia:

Give me break! The man was telling the truth. Why should we be offended? I'm not. Philadelphia is a DIRTY city.

I grew up in Philly and have called it home for almost 60 years. I have seen it deteriorate from a pretty clean city to one that disgusts me.

I lived in Chicago for a few years in the '80s and was so impressed with it: So clean, no trash flying and no graffiti. Of course, if you traveled to the west of the city, into the poorer neighborhoods, you did come across some of the issues of trash and graffiti, but in downtown Chicago, the Loop and along Lake Shore Drive and Stoney Island Boulevard, I saw very little trash, if any.

Perhaps, Mayor Nagin should have been a little more diplomatic, but the man speaks the truth. If we policed ourselves in the disposal of our trash while we are eating on the run or cleaned up around our homes from those who toss junk out their windows as they drive by, we would have a right to be offended, but we don't.

Dianne Townes, Philadelphia

The threats around us

I'm a graduate of the Temple school of criminal justice, and have worked in the justice system for many years. Now, I'm starting to wonder - are the wrong people behind bars? Virginia Tech shows just how violent America has become, and don't forget Lancaster County's school killings and our No. 1 murder rate in Philly.

I believe America is certainly not safe from terrorists but equally unsafe from American citizens. All the right ingredients are here - money, weapons and bad people!

Frank DiBenedetto, Norristown

Won't snitch? Don't bitch

The easiest way way to deal with anything that takes a little courage is to criticize the system and put the blame on someone else.

"Don't snitch" is the stupidest excuse for accepting fear and living a low-quality life. People complain that they are gun victims in Philly yet they are too chicken-hearted to report, anonymously at that, a punk with an illegal gun.

If you want help, then help yourself - or live with the consequences. Let these maggots run your life and don't stand up, and you deserve all you get from them. "The city should do something, or the government should or the police should stop the violence." Untrue, it's time for Philadelphians to gain some guts. Don't snitch means don't bitch, either.

Kevin Allen, Philadelphia